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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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I Am Mill Valley: Senior Elly VanRheen gains valuable experience working as a Certified Nurses Aide at an assisted living center

VanRheen took her CNA class through the EDTEC program and is working toward becoming a physicians assistant
By Sydney McGlasson
During her Health Careers class at EDTEC, senior Elly Vanrheen lifts senior Jenna Graber from a patient care bed to practice moving patients Wednesday, April 5, 2023. This class was one of the first steps in VanRheen’s journey to becoming a CNA.

This profile is part of a year-long series called “I Am Mill Valley” that will showcase the talents, interests and achievements of the students and staff at Mill Valley.

At 2 p.m. after a day of school, senior Elly VanRheen punches in for work at Hillside Village Assisted Living in De Soto where she works as a Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) multiple days a week. She helps seniors perform daily tasks such as showering, going to the bathroom and getting dressed.

VanRheen got her CNA certification through Eudora High School’s EDTEC program by taking the CNA class. Once she got her certification, she went through clinicals where students shadow CNAs and work with patients.

Much of what students learn in a CNA course is about general hygiene, infection control and emergency response. VanRheen felt what she learned was important for keeping patients safe.

“It is [very] detail oriented,” VanRheen said. “Small things that maybe you don’t think about when you’re taking care of yourself, but that you have to pay attention to when you’re taking care of other people.”

VanRheen shares her story with continuing to work at Hillside Village.

“Take advantage of what the school has to offer. The CNA program is not utilized as much as it should be and it’s a really good experience.”

— Senior Elly VanRheen

“I actually started working [at Hillside Village] because that’s where we did our clinicals, so I had already kind of gotten to know some of the residents,” VanRheen said.

One of the biggest obstacles for VanRheen was overcoming some discomfort over certain tasks but she has learned about being professional through the process.

“You have to take people to the bathroom or change their briefs,” VanRheen said. “[Some] people are really grossed out, but you can’t change someone and act like you’re grossed out. You have to be able to talk with them, make them feel comfortable and not make it an embarrassing thing.”

While the job comes with its challenges, VanRheen loves what she does.

“Even if I’m really tired at school or I’m in a bad mood, I can do a total 180 once I get to work and just be able to put on a smile and make people’s day,” VanRheen said.

VanRheen plans on becoming a physician’s assistant and is currently enrolled in Certified Medical Aide (CMA) classes through Eudora. A CMA is similar to a CNA except that they administer medication to patients.

VanRheen’s teacher at Eudora, Danielle Young, said in an email that CNA courses are extremely helpful for someone wanting to go into the medical field.

“It shows the programs students are applying to, that they have taken steps to get experience, and that they are serious about healthcare,” Young said. “I really encourage any student who wants to become a nurse or physician to take the course.”

VanRheen echoed Young’s statement saying it is an amazing experience and more students should enroll.

“Take advantage of what the school has to offer,” VanRheen said. “The CNA program is not utilized as much as it should be and it’s a really good experience.”

By Emma Clement
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About the Contributors
Maddie Martin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Maddie Martin’s first year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to writing and taking pictures for the JagWire. She is on the golf team and is a part of Relay for Life. Outside of school she volunteers with National Charity League. She spends her free time hanging out with her friends and family, listening to music and watching sports.  
Emma Clement, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief
This is senior Emma Clement’s third year on the JagWire staff. This year she is JagWire and Mill Valley News editor-in-chief, in addition to being a writer and designer for the newspaper. When she is not working on journalism, Emma enjoys reading, drawing, painting, watching TV shows and spending time with friends and family. She is also involved at Mill Valley as NHS president, Spanish NHS vice president, Youth for Refugees president, Model UN president, NAHS vice president and is a member of NEHS, Scholar’s Bowl and Women’s Empowerment Club. Outside of school, Emma works at Pinnacle Gymnastics as a gymnastics coach and is on the editorial board for elementia, the Johnson County Library’s teen literary magazine.
Sydney McGlasson, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is junior Sydney McGlasson’s second year on the JagWire staff. This year she is so excited to be a photographer once again. Outside of being a staff member, Sydney is involved with competitive dance at AOTA dance studio. This will be her 14th year dancing with her studio. She loves to hangout with her friends during her free time, going to the pool, shopping at Target or going to see a movie. She also loves to exercise by taking her dogs on walks, going on runs on the trails or practicing dances with her teammates. She is so excited to be a part of the returning staff for the JagWire. 

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